School Libraries

Volunteers Can't Replace School Librarians

Referring to a previous article in the Daily News Tribune, Mary Ellen McKenna, herself a parent volunteer, salutes parents who volunteered to man the school library in Ashland Massachusetts when the librarian position was eliminated. But she adds:

"The article sited budget cuts and the inability to hire professional librarians. The parents in town did not want their children spending another academic year with [sic] library services. They formed a unique volunteer team to support the lending of library resources to the children. While I am very impressed with the commitment of the volunteers, I am concerned the article serves to perpetuate the lack of appreciation for our professional school librarians.

As a volunteer library parent, I routinely check out books for the children. However, the librarian's job goes much beyond checking out books. Who will teach these children the origins and ways of the Dewey decimal system? Who will teach them a true appreciation for the various genres of writing? who will teach them the research skills that become lifelong tools? Our school librarian is constantly thinking outside the box to meet the needs of the children."

Oklahoma Parent’s Questions Stop Author's Visit to School

A visit by a best-selling author to a Norman OK middle school was canceled after a parent questioned the content of one of the author’s books.

Author Ellen Hopkins was scheduled to speak to eighth-graders at Whittier Middle School today about her career, writing process and books.

Hopkins is the author of several New York Times best-selling books for young adults. She was notified Thursday her visit was canceled because a parent at the school requested a review of her book "Glass”.

Twilight Banned At Australian School- Deemed Too Racy

Twilight, though an international bestseller, isn't faring so well in Strathfield, NSW. School administrators and librarians at the Santa Sabina College say the book is too racy for school children to read and have even gone so far to hold seminars on paranormal romance. Librarians have removed the book from the shelves of the school library.

The head librarian, Helen Schutz, says "We wanted to make sure they realise it's fictitious and ensure they don't have a wrong grasp on reality."

More from The Daily Telegraph.

Private school library gets rid of all books

The Boston Globe today reports on the Cushing Academy in Ashburnham, MA that has decided to take all the latest trends in libraries to their absurd extreme: A library without the books. "Where the reference desk was, they are building a $50,000 coffee shop that will include a $12,000 cappuccino machine."

Prefab library 'cheats' school in southwest Sydney

THE small community of Douglas Park Primary School outside Sydney is feeling cheated of the benefits of the federal government's $14.7 billion school building program after being charged three times more than the amount quoted for a prefabricated school library.

Tracking Down the Forgotten Book Title

Christian Science Monitor's guest blogger Rebekah Denn is trying to remember a book she read as a child, hoping to pass it on to her young son who is laid up with a broken arm.

It was a faraway book memory, where I could almost see the book’s jacket – was it plain, with an outline of a baseball player at bat? – but couldn’t remember the title, author, or character’s name.

I called in the big guns, asking “Book Lust” author and Seattle uber-librarian Nancy Pearl if the book rang any bells in her encyclopedic mental library. She referred me to a completely delightful resource, an online site, Loganberry Books where readers try to match books with titles based on similarly vague, fragmented memories. And then, before I could even enter my posting there, I got a reply from Laurie Amster-Burton, a Seattle Public Schools librarian who loves a surprising number of the same children’s books I do. She didn’t know this one herself, and the inquiries she sent to librarian friends came up blank, but she managed to sleuth it out online. She sent me a message yesterday that the book is “There Are Two Kinds of Terrible,” by Peggy Mann, published in 1977. The protagonist’s name is Robbie.

Victory for LGBT Websites in Tennessee School Districts

NPR's Andy Carvin reports from "All Tech Considered"...

The American Civil Liberties Union announced today that they have settled out of court with two Tennessee school districts sued on behalf of local students for blocking classroom access to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Web sites. The lawsuit, as we reported last May, alleged that Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools and Knox County Schools violated the rights of three students by denying them access to LGBT sites, yet continued to allow access to sites that advocated "reparative therapy" programs that attempt to change a person's sexual orientation.

As part of the settlement, the school districts agreed to unblock the LGBT Web sites. If the districts re-block the sites at any time, the ACLU says it will bring the case back to court.

In a Digital Future, Textbooks Are History

Story in the New York Times

At Empire High School in Vail, Ariz., students use computers provided by the school to get their lessons, do their homework and hear podcasts of their teachers’ science lectures.

Down the road, at Cienega High School, students who own laptops can register for “digital sections” of several English, history and science classes. And throughout the district, a Beyond Textbooks initiative encourages teachers to create — and share — lessons that incorporate their own PowerPoint presentations, along with videos and research materials they find by sifting through reliable Internet sites.

Textbooks have not gone the way of the scroll yet, but many educators say that it will not be long before they are replaced by digital versions — or supplanted altogether by lessons assembled from the wealth of free courseware, educational games, videos and projects on the Web.

Full story here.

Is the book closed on school librarians?

School libraries are undergoing a transformation in the Las Virgenes (CA) Unified School District.

Six teacher-librarian jobs have metamorphosed into three media specialist jobs for next year, in part to save money due to state budget cuts.

Dan Stepenosky, LVUSD assistant superintendent of personnel, said the positions were based upon “a hybrid of skills and services that were previously performed by the technology teachers on special assignment and school librarians.”

Kelly Benning, Mary Ann Hamre and Barbara Folkeson were chosen to fill the media specialist spots. Benning has been a librarian at A.C. Stelle Middle School in Calabasas, and Folkeson has worked as a traveling elementary school librarian. Hamre worked as a district technology teacher.

Full story here.

Texas Board of Education May Remove Civil Rights Figures from textbooks

The Texas State Board of Education is listening to recommendations to remove or de-emphasize Cesar Chavez and Thurgood Marshall, among others, in school textbooks.

http://www.kbmt12.com/news/local/50948152.html

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